José Mourinho says Chelsea have nothing to lose in their FA Cup fifth-round tie at Manchester City and that all of the pressure will be on Manuel Pellegrini's team, given the scale of their outlay in the transfer market.
If Chelsea's visit to the Etihad Stadium is the outstanding tie of the round, the draw threw up a second meeting of comparable magnitude, with Arsenal welcoming Liverpool.
Mourinho watched his Chelsea team beat Stoke City 1-0 at home but then get arguably the worst possible draw – a visit to a stadium where City have been scoring at eye-watering rates this season. Chelsea visit City in the Premier League on 3 February and the Cup tie is expected to take place on 15 February.
Mourinho remembered the pressure that was on his Chelsea team during his first spell at the club, when the owner, Roman Abramovich, lavished huge sums on players to fire a push for trophies, and he is now pinning that on City. The Chelsea manager has repeatedly suggested that City should already be well clear in the title race, such is the quality in their squad. As it is, they are one point behind Arsenal in second, a point and a place ahead of Chelsea.
"We are ready to go there [to City in the FA Cup] and enjoy," Mourinho said. "We are going to go there with a good attitude and nothing to lose. They have everything to lose. They are the team that was made to win. They have to feel now the same thing I was feeling here in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. 'We are the best team by far. We have to win. If we don't, it's because we did something wrong.' They must feel the same.
"We have nothing to lose. Nice, nice, nice would be that we win against West Ham [at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday], which is difficult ... Big Sam [Allardyce] drew here with Bolton in my first time, so difficult. But if we win against West Ham, it's very enjoyable to go there [in the league] with one point difference. If you win, you're in front. Good for us."
The fifth-round ties will take place the weekend before City and Arsenal face Champions League first-leg matches against Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively. Chelsea's first leg against Galatasaray does not take place until the following midweek.
Mourinho could enjoy his 51st birthday after Oscar's stunning free-kick was the difference against Stoke but it was put to him that the result had lost some of its shine in light of the fifth-round draw. He disagreed.
"It's good," he said. "Our priority for the season is to improve. The best way to improve is with difficult things. Play against the best teams, twice in 15 days, in their stadium, the stadium where they win every game and smash every team, score four or five goals every game even against the big teams like Arsenal and Tottenham and United … it's a good thing for us.
"We are playing very well in my opinion. We played a very good game against Stoke. The 1-0 does not reflect the qualityand dominance of our game. So it's good for us. If we lose, we lose against the best. If we don't lose, it's fantastic. It's good. It's a good draw."
FA Cup fifth-round draw in full. Ties to be played over weekend of 15/16 February.
Manchester City v Chelsea
Sheffield United or Fulham v Nottingham Forest or Preston North End
Arsenal v Liverpool
Brighton & Hove Albion v Hull City
Cardiff City v Wigan Athletic
Sheffield Wednesday v Charlton Athletic
Sunderland v Southampton
Everton v Swansea City